Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Ewan Pearson Interview

A few weeks back, feeling slightly cocky after having a piece published in the Goldsmiths magazine (oh, the glamour!) I decided to email one of my favourite DJs/producers/remixers in the world and invited him to answer a few questions for this blog. It took a bit of time to get things sorted, but I eventually got my questions through to Ewan Pearson.

I've been a fan of Pearson's since downloading the mix he put together for Allez-Allez (which you can get here) on a whim and being spellbound by the blend of disco, deep house and with the last track on the mix (Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve's remix of Roscoe by Midlake) psychedelic folk-rock. After that I added Fabric35 to my burgeoning collection of the metal tinned series and was delighted by the harder sound within. His other official mix album, Sci-Fi-Hi-Fi Vol. 1 (Soma, 2005) was similarly wonderful and introduced me to one of the 00s forgotten classics in Broken Dream by Da Fresh.

But it's his work as a remixer that really interested me. From turning Courtney Tidwell's 'Don't Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up' into a 12 minute spacefolkcosmiccountryminimaldisco epic to his recent House mix of 'Hazel' by Junior Boys (a sultry 9 minute deep house slow jam) he's been consistently one of the most interesting people working within the house/techno scene.

So, many thanks to Ewan for answering the questions put forward to him.

Blank Cassettes: Is Berlin really as full of producers/DJs/artists as we're told? If so, what is it that makes the city so appealing (other than the cheap rent)?

Ewan Pearson: It does feel a bit like it sometimes - in the same way that you're never more than a metre away from a rat in New York, you could say the same in Berlin about DJs. I'm not sure why to be honest. I came here just a little before the hype really kicked in, but only because i like the atmosphere of the place rather than for musical reasons. Musically I was a bigger fan of the music coming from places like Frankfurt and Cologne, labels like Playhouse and Kompakt. We are really lucky here with the club situation though - and it's only when you travel to other places that you remember - I went out for a bit on January 2nd and there were massive queues at Weekend and Watergate despite the fact it was a couple of days after New Year's.

BC: What's been exciting you recently music wise?

EP: All sorts of things - Andrew Weatherall's album, Andre Lodemann, Azari & III, Populette, Good Guy Mikesh, Oni Ayhun, everything that DJ Koze and Paul Woolford have done this last year, John Talabot.

BC: How do you go about deciding what remix commissions to accept?

EP: It's usually just gut feeling really - is there something about the track or the artist that really appeals and do I think I can do something which I will like and will please them too? If i can't do both then I say no. There have been a couple of things I was asked to do which I was gutted not to be able to think of a way to manage - Shakira was probably the biggest act - but i couldn't think of a way to do it. I have no problem with remixing a big pop act - it's just a question of thinking of the right approach. I try never to remix something I positively dislike; when i started it wasn't always that way. I think people regard your choices as part of why they like you - if you're careful and don't just try and cash in, hopefully you have a longer career and a better reputation. That's the theory anyhow.

BC: If you could remix any track ever, past or present, what would it be and why?

EP: Erm, I used to have a no classics remix policy but then jumped at the chance to remix Depeche Mode "Enjoy The Silence" when I got offered that. There's oodles of things I guess. I would have loved to have remixed something from Kate Bush's last record - the 2nd CD of Aerial was incredible - balearic wonderfulness that could have had some extremely sympathetic treatments I think. I'd love to remix Fleetwood Mac if only to get my hands on the multitracks and sample the drums to hell.

BC: What can we expect from the forthcoming mix you're doing for Kompakt? Is it going to be as dance-floor orientated as Fabric 35 or similar to, say, the And Now To Bed... mix you did for Allez Allez?

EP: It's different again to both of those - it is a little less heads-down dancefloor than fabric, and deliberately a bit more musically diverse. It was definitely compiled with a Kompakt sensibility in mind - quite melodic, with key mixes and things. Then it gets slower and more song-based at the very end.

BC: What's next for Ewan Pearson?

EP: Well I'm on the promo trail for the mix CD. Plus, Delphic's album is coming out next week which I'm excited about - that was lots of my 2009 and so I hope people like it. The guys are really talented and they deserve massive success. Then there's a new album from Tracey Thorn which comes out in May - that's finished and quite different to Out of the Woods. She's written some amazing songs and sounds better than she ever has maybe. Then there a couple of new releases ready for Misericord, my occasional 12 label - a new thing from Al Usher and a new EP from October. And then, i'm not sure - i have some possible production things to do, but I'm not going to rush into anything. I would like to make some original music too this year, but I think I've forgotten how!

Be sure to check out his forthcoming mix album, We Are Proud of our Choices for the legendary Kompakt records, more info on which you can find here: Pearson for Kompakt

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